Selling online courses is a big business all around the world. In 2015, it was worth $107 billion, in 2018 it grew to $190 billion, and it’s predicted to reach over $319 billion by 2029. This information comes from Elearning Statistics!
Many people are choosing to invest in education and keep learning throughout their lives. Online courses have become popular because they let you learn from home, which is comfy and flexible, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of going to physical classes.
This is great news for the e-learning industry, which is growing fast.
If you’re not already selling online courses, you’re missing a big chance. If you jump into your specific field now, you’ll likely be one of the first, and that can be really rewarding.
Now, let’s get to the important question: How can you make money by selling online courses?
Is selling online courses worth it?
There’s a lot of talk about online courses not being very profitable or easy to make money from.
But here’s the deal: There’s still a big opportunity for creators to sell online courses.
Especially since the pandemic, people have become super interested in online learning, covering topics like cooking, fitness, wellness, and starting their own businesses.
Online courses are a smart choice for a few reasons:
- They don’t cost much to start. You don’t need a lot of money upfront; it’s more about investing your time.
- You can sell them from anywhere. No need to set up a booth at a market; you can sell your courses online from home.
- You can teach almost anything. You can share your knowledge on almost any topic and stand out from the competition.
You can sell courses one at a time or as part of a membership. Memberships mean you charge a flat monthly or yearly fee for access to different classes. This can give creators a steady income over time.
Let’s compare: Say you have a $299 online course or a $15 monthly membership fee.
A graph shows how your earnings could grow over 12 months with an online course compared to a membership.
Memberships are often more successful because they bring in steady income, keep growing over time, and hold onto members.
So, are you interested? Let’s dive into how you can create your own online course.
Why is Selling Courses a Huge Business Opportunity?
Let’s look at some real examples.
- Tomi Mester, for instance, left his regular job and started selling online courses. Now he makes more than $10,000 each month.
- Nick Stephenson made $130,208 in just one week with his marketing course.
- And John Omar earned a cool $1 million in a year teaching iOS app development.
These stories show that selling courses online can be a really profitable way to make money. If you’re wondering why people would buy your course, here’s a good reason.
In 2020, the total student loan debt in the US was over $1.56 trillion! That’s a lot. There are more than 45 million people with an average student loan debt of around $32,731. Education is expensive, and that’s why many folks are looking for other options.
Online education is the answer.
About 33% of college students take online courses.
Because it’s cheaper, and they learn five times more than they do in traditional college classes.
And it’s not just students – companies are using web-based courses to train their employees too. Studies show this helps businesses make more money and makes their employees better at their jobs.
So, selling online courses is a big deal, and the best part is, it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a real business. You can connect with your students, offer them more stuff, and make money even when you’re not actively teaching.
What to Consider When Selling Courses Online?
Before we dive into tips for making money with online courses, there are some important things to keep in mind.
- First, make a solid plan for creating, promoting, and selling your course on the internet.
- Decide where you’ll host your course. You can do it yourself or use services like Teachable that handle hosting for you.
- Use the best themes to create an awesome online school. Plugins like Masteriyo can help you create courses with lots of lessons and quizzes.
- Make sure your course content is well-structured and uses different types of media like videos and transcripts.
- Set up secure payment methods so students can buy your courses without any worries.
10 Steps to Earn Money by Selling Online Courses
Following are the steps to earn money by selling courses online:
- Select a topic that is popular.
- Make sure your idea for the course is good.
- Choose a platform for creating your course.
- Create your course content.
- Decide how much your course will cost.
- Build a webpage where you can sell your course.
- Improve your course sales funnel.
- Use digital marketing to get the word out about your course.
- Sell your courses on popular online learning platforms.
- Make even more money by offering other courses or services to your customers.
Select a topic that is popular.
To start making money with online courses, the first thing you need to do is decide what your course will be about.
The topic you pick will affect how much money you can earn and how you should set up your sales page.
When you’re looking for a good course topic, the key factor to consider is demand.
Here’s why: If many people are interested in the kind of course you want to create, it’ll be easier to make money because there will be lots of potential buyers.
It’s important to find a topic that’s both popular and something you know a lot about. This way, you can create a high-quality learning experience. If you’re really passionate about the topic, that’s even better.
In most cases, the more specific your course topic is, the more you can charge for it.
Here are some effective ways to find popular course topics:
- Keyword Research
Start with keyword research. This helps you find out what topics people are searching for, how often they’re searching for them, and if the interest is growing or declining over time. Once you find a good topic, you can explore related keywords to figure out what to include in your course.
- Best-Selling Courses
Take a look at the courses that are selling the most on popular online learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera. This will show you what topics learners are interested in.
You can also check out popular videos on YouTube to see what topics are getting the most attention. If you find something interesting, you can investigate further to see if it’s a good fit for creating a course.
- Competitor Analysis
If you have competitors in your business, you can see what topics they cover in their content to get ideas for new courses. Look for areas where their content might need improvement, and you can create a better resource for your audience.
- Topics You Already Rank For
Lastly, check your Google Analytics and keyword ranking reports to see which topics you already have good search engine rankings for. If you create courses in these areas, you can benefit right away from organic traffic.
Make sure your idea for the course is good.
Before you jump all in, it’s important to make sure your course idea is a good one. Research helps, but you can’t always predict how your audience will react to a particular topic.
Validating your idea means confirming it’s a good fit for your audience before you spend lots of time and resources creating the course.
Here are some ways to validate your online course idea:
- Ask Your Audience
One simple way is to ask your audience directly through a survey. You can use a survey to find out if they’d find value in the topic you’re thinking about. You can even let them suggest their own ideas.
- Create a Pre-Sales Page and Share It
Your course sales page is how people will learn about your course when it’s ready. But before the course is even made, you can create a test version of this page to see how your audience responds.
If a lot of people show interest or sign up, you can be more confident it’s a good idea. You can describe what the course will cover on this page. Instead of offering immediate access, you can ask visitors to pre-purchase a seat or subscribe to updates. Once you’ve made the pre-sales page, send it to your email list to get their feedback.
- Test with Facebook Ads
Pre-sales pages also let you run test ads. How well a topic performs in these tests can tell you if your course idea is viable. In the early stages of selling online courses, you might need to use paid advertising to attract customers. If a topic doesn’t work with ads, it’ll be tough to sell the course.
Start by testing your pre-sales page using Facebook Ads. Choose an audience that matches your topic, and see how they respond to your page.
You want to see a lot of people converting and engaging with the page. If that happens, it’s a sign the course topic is good for selling online.
Choose a platform for creating your course.
Once you know your course is a hit, it’s time to pick a platform to create it.
This platform is where you’ll put your course, make your sales page, and handle payments.
Before you choose a platform, you should have a good idea of how you want your course to be organized. This way, you can be sure to pick one that has all the things you need.
There are many good platforms with the basic stuff you need to make and sell an online course. Here are some of the top ones:
This is a plugin for WordPress. You can make, host, share, and sell your course right from your WordPress site. It works with other popular WordPress plugins like WooCommerce.
If you want full control over your courses and own the platform, Learndash is a good pick. It has a drag-and-drop course builder to make courses quickly. There are graded assignments for students, and you can make a discussion forum for your audience. The price starts at $13.25 per month.
With LearnWorlds, you can make interactive videos and other fun stuff to get your students engaged. It has a drag-and-drop builder to make courses and lots of templates to help you start. The price starts at $24 per month.
This platform has everything you need to sell an online course. Besides the course builder, it offers full websites that you can change however you want.
Plus, the sales page templates are made to turn visitors into students. It offers many features that new course sellers might not need. They have a free option with limited features, and paid plans start at $49 per month.
Teachable is a simple course builder and a good choice for beginners. It has quizzes, drip content, forums, and a user-friendly website maker. You can host your courses on your own domain, and it has marketing tools to help bring people to your course.
They have a free plan with some limits, and paid plans range from $39 to $299 per month. You can save money with an annual plan.
Create your course content.
Now that you’ve got a platform to work with, it’s time to start creating your online course.
Most of your effort will go into planning and writing the course content.
Recording the material will also take some time, but it shouldn’t be too hard. You can make a good course video with simple equipment.
After recording, you’ll need to edit the videos to make them look nice for your students.
Then, you can create any extra resources you want to give to your students and add them to your course platform.
I’ve made a few online courses, and I can tell you it’s not as tough as it might seem. You’ll get better with practice, and even if you’re new to this, you can still make a great course.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Begin with an outline to plan out what your course will cover. This helps make sure you present the information in the best order.
- Break up your course material into different lessons to keep things organized. Try to keep lessons short and focused so it’s easier for students to remember.
- The best online courses use a mix of text and video to teach. This combination makes for a better learning experience.
- Give your users more resources they can download. It could be a template, checklist, spreadsheet, or anything that helps them use what they’ve learned.
- Put a checklist at the end of each lesson. It’s a nice way to wrap up the section and reminds students of the main points to remember.
Decide how much your course will cost.
Deciding how much to charge for your online course is an important step if you want to earn money from it. Here are the most common ways people price their online courses:
- One-Time Payment
This is the simplest way. People pay for the course once, and then they can access it. How much you charge depends on how long your course is and what it’s about. It could be anywhere from $29 to a few hundred dollars. But don’t make it too cheap, or you won’t make much money.
With this model, people pay a fee every month to access your course. It’s good if you have a lot of material. Instead of paying a big amount at once, customers can spread the cost over time.
They can also stop paying if they’re not interested anymore. You can also use subscriptions for ongoing benefits, like a private group for members.
- Course Bundles
Here, you sell a group of courses together at a lower price than if someone bought them individually. It’s a way to make each sale more valuable. Customers like bundles because they get more for their money. We use this for our digital marketing courses at Reliablesoft Academy.
- Free Content with Paid Certifications
You can offer your course for free but charge for a certificate. Certificates show that students have learned something, and people are willing to pay for that.
But the certification needs to be respected, so make sure your course is high-quality to make the certificate attractive.
Remember, the pricing model you choose should fit your course and your audience.
Build a webpage where you can sell your course.
Once you’ve decided how much to charge for your course, the next step is to make a page where you tell people about your course and let them sign up for it. This is called a “course sales page.”
Here are some important things to remember when making your course sales page:
- Make it Easy to Use
Your page should be simple for people to use. You should have clear sections with names, and links to important parts like the pricing.
- Work on Mobile Phones
Many people use phones to browse the internet. So, your page should work well on mobile phones too. Everything should be stacked on top of each other so people don’t have to scroll from side to side.
- Show What They Get
Tell people what they’ll get when they sign up for your course. This could be things like resources, certificates, or other benefits.
- What They’ll Learn
Explain what your course will teach them. List all the topics and subjects your course covers.
- Easy to Pay
Don’t make it hard for people to pay for your course. The payment process should be quick and simple. Only ask for the necessary information and keep it as short as possible.
- Student Reviews
It’s good to show that other people like your course. You can give a sneak peek of your course to some people and ask them for feedback. Then, you can put their reviews on your sales page to show that your course is good.
- Course Details
Tell your potential students how your course is set up. Is it taught through videos, written text, interactive lessons, or something else? Also, give them a full plan of what they’ll learn in each lesson.
Remember, a well-made sales page can help you get more students and make more money from your online course.
Improve your course sales funnel.
After you’ve made a good sales page, the next step is to create something called a “digital marketing sales funnel.” Think of it like a series of steps that help turn people who are just curious into people who actually buy your course. Each time someone interacts with your website or messages, it’s like they take a step closer to buying.
You should have different funnels for different groups of people. This way, you can make sure that each step of the funnel fits what those people are interested in.
Here are some things you can do to make your funnel work better:
- Use Ads
When you start getting people to come to your website, not all of them will buy right away. That’s normal. Sometimes, people need more time to think before they decide to buy.
To get those people back to your website, you can use ads on Google and Facebook. These ads will only show to people who’ve been to your sales page before. When they see the ad, they’ll remember your course and might come back to the sales page.
- Send Emails with Offers
Email is a great way to sell things. If someone gives you their email, you can send them emails about your course. You can even give them special offers or discounts to make them more likely to sign up.
- Capture your targeted audience.
Once you start selling to people, you can learn about them. What are they like? What do they like to do online? You can use this information to find more people who are similar to your buyers.
On Facebook, you can use something called a “lookalike audience.” This helps you target new people who are a lot like the people who have already bought your course. Since they’re similar, they might also be interested in your course.
Remember, building a good sales funnel takes time, but it can help you sell more of your course. If you need help with Facebook ads, you can check out our Facebook Ads Course for step-by-step instructions.
Use digital marketing to promote your course.
Just having a sales page for your course won’t make you money. To earn from selling online courses, you need to promote your course to bring people to your sales page and into your sales process.
Here’s how you can do it using different digital marketing methods:
- Blog Posts
Writing articles on topics related to your course can help you get more visitors to your website. Make sure to use the keywords you found when you did your research to come up with blog post ideas. These articles can bring in organic traffic and establish your expertise in your field.
- Paid Ads
You can use paid advertising to get immediate visitors to your course sales page. Two effective platforms for advertising are Google and Facebook. You can target specific keywords and audiences to reach the right people. Both of these platforms have a large number of users.
- Guest Posting
Once you become known as an expert in your industry, you can write articles for other websites. These guest posts can bring referral traffic to your course page and further establish your authority.
- Starting a Facebook Group
Creating a Facebook group is a way to build your own community. You can engage with group members regularly by sharing valuable tips, answering questions, and connecting with your audience.
- Try some traditional marketing strategies too.
Other traditional digital marketing tactics to sell courses online include:
- Being a guest on podcasts
- Participating in forums like Reddit and other online groups
- Creating a YouTube channel
- Posting on social media
- Running ads on your own website
- Hosting webinars
For more advanced strategies, you can offer free downloadable materials, like eBooks or mini-courses, in exchange for people’s email addresses. Once you have their email, you can send them regular newsletters with offers and limited-time discounts to encourage them to visit your sales page and make a purchase.
Sell your courses on popular online learning platforms.
Besides selling your online courses on your own website, you can also think about selling them on popular e-learning websites. This way, your courses can reach more potential students because many people use these sites to find courses.
However, when you sell your courses on these platforms, you’ll make less money. That’s because you have to share the earnings from each sale with the platform.
If the platform works on a subscription basis, customers won’t pay for your courses individually. Instead, your earnings will depend on how the platform shares its revenue.
Here’s how revenue sharing works on a couple of popular e-learning platforms:
- You get 37% of the money from sales when someone buys your course without using a special coupon or referral link.
- If someone purchases your course using a referral link or instructor code, you get 97% of the sales revenue.
- Skillshare pays teachers 30% of the total membership revenue they earn each month.
- Your earnings are based on the percentage of the total time students spend watching your courses. For instance, if your courses make up 10% of the time students spend watching paid videos on the platform, you’ll get 10% of the money shared among teachers.
Selling on these platforms can expose your courses to a wider audience, but it may mean earning a smaller portion of the sales.
Make even more money by offering other courses or services to your customers.
You can also earn money from online courses by selling them at a low price or even for free, and then offering more expensive courses, services, or products to your customers.
Starting with low-cost or free courses is a good way to attract initial interest from people. Once they’ve taken your free course, they might be more willing to buy a more comprehensive one.
Depending on the platform you use to host your courses, there might be built-in features to help you upsell. For instance, Teachable allows you to add an upsell offer to your “thank you” page.
Besides selling another course, you can also upsell other services and products. Many online courses offer access to a private community. These communities are valuable because they provide extra learning resources and a chance to connect with others who share the same interests.
Some course platforms, like Teachable, let you create a private community. Alternatively, you can use a Facebook group to host the community and set up the upsell offer on your own website.
Hence, there are various strategies you can employ to make money from your online courses. From choosing the right pricing structure and designing effective sales pages to utilizing e-learning platforms and implementing upselling techniques, the possibilities are endless.
Remember, the key is to provide valuable content and engage with your audience to build trust and credibility. Whether you’re just starting or looking to enhance your online course business, these strategies can help you succeed.
If you’re eager to explore more digital marketing insights and educational resources, don’t forget to visit Hazehunt.
Happy learning and selling!